The RCMP's disciplinary process is so bureaucratic and out-of-datethat "bad apples" end up staying on the force long after theyshould be thrown out, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said in aremarkably frank open letter to Canadians on Monday. Paulson, who has held the top job at the force for six months,pledged to work on modernizing the disciplinary process, which cannow take years to resolve a case. "I am trying to run a modern police force with a discipline systemthat was current 25 years ago," he writes. "Right now, thisframework limits my ability to ensure our members' conduct isproperly managed and corrected or, when necessary, to see to itthat the bad apples are sent packing." Paulson's comments come as public confidence in the force has beenbadly shaken by damaging reports of disgraceful conduct by someofficers conduct that often went unpunished. |
Six months ago, a CBC News investigation revealed allegations of a widespread culture of sexual harassment that allowed unacceptable behaviour to continue within the RCMP.Several current and former female officers in the force have sincemade similar allegations . Last week, it was revealed that an RCMP sergeant in Edmonton wasdemoted and will be transferred to B.C. after he admitted to having sex with subordinates, drinking withthem at work and sexually harassing them over a three-year period.Some wondered why the officer wasn't fired. More cases to come In his open letter, Paulson says Canadians can expect to hear aboutmore cases of unacceptable behaviour. "They are the inheritance ofpast behaviours and attitudes," he says.
Paulson also decried what he called the "administrativelyburdensome and bureaucratic decision-making process" that can seediscipline cases tied up for years. "It's unsatisfactory that we have to continue spending your taxdollars to pay individuals that don't deserve to be in the RCMP." Paulson says he's started working on changing attitudes andbehaviours at the force. "Since my appointment, I've clarified myexpectations to my senior managers and all RCMP employees, and Ihave taken steps to address situations where I had the authority todo so." But he acknowledges that "legislation alone is not enough to keepyour trust," saying reforms must be guided by an ongoing commitmentat each level of the RCMP to foster a respectful workplace. "The challenges facing the RCMP are significant, but we will createa modern and even stronger organization that continues to make youproud," he pledges.
"The men and women of the RCMP are up to this challenge, and thoseyou encounter deserve your respect and support.".
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